The Spice Isle Seeks to Expand Commodities

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: The Barnacle News

A local farmer and beneficiary of an FAO project cultivating land to ready it for planting.

The Government of Grenada seeks to expand and diversify its list of commodities available for export and reduce its importation of some locally grown produce

February 8, 2022 – Bridgetown, Barbados – Grenada has a long, lucrative history on regional and global markets through its trade of locally-grown spices, which have led the country to be fondly referred to as the Spice Isle. Known for spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and mace among others, the country is now working to be known for more than spices as it seeks to develop other commodities, including soursop, for which it is the only Caribbean country currently exporting the fresh fruit.

Following increased competition with other foreign markets for its traditional exports, the country is now focused on assessing the value chains with the greatest potential for success. Through a regional cluster of projects of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Government of Grenada will be working to develop these value chains over the next two years.

This process will begin with a two-day workshop from February 8 to 9, 2023 to analyse five high potential value chains. FAO and various public sector and private sector members will meet virtually to assess the soursop, seamoss, pineapple, carrot, and honey value chains. These commodities have been selected by the government to either replace imports or to secure a place on export markets. Over the two days, the highly participatory sessions will feature data driven discussions to understand market trends, local and external supply demands and to evaluate which can be fully developed and are most likely to succeed on local or global markets.

Ms Bree Romuld of FAO’s Value Chain Development Programme noted that there was a renewed interest by governments of the Windward Islands to increase their production and to build strong value chains that could lessen their dependence on imports and grant them a profitable chance on global markets. She highlighted that Grenada was among countries of the region that sought to focus on the consumption of locally- grown produce whilst contributing to the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) food-importation bill reduction by 25 per cent by 2025. She emphasized that through the project, all aspects of the value chains would be examined and developed to identify ways of increasing the agriculture sector’s contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and to help in improving the incomes and standards of living for many Grenadians.

Farmer opening up a nutmeg seed from a tree on his property.

During the workshop, the public sector and private sector stakeholders will gather to prioritize the selected crops based on their potential to be successful for either export or import substitution. Following this selection phase, further work on analysing, strategising and implementing a plan to develop the value chains will be continued.

The project, which focuses on promoting competitive, sustainable, and resilient national value chain development in Grenada, falls under a regional cluster of projects on Promoting Windward Islands Food Production and Trade Corridor through National and Regional Value Chain Development, launched on February 3, 2023. In addition to Grenada, similar projects are being implemented in Dominica, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The cluster of projects will be supported by other projects and activities by regional partners. The end game is to create a Winward Islands network that exports agricultural produce collectively from the countries to external markets such as those in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States of America.

The project being implemented by FAO is a first and catalytic step in this process and will help in creating the enabling environment for Grenada, and other countries to grow resilient and sustainable agro industries.